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National Observer Program Annual Report Released

June 25, 2012  

Credit: Fisheries Observer Scott Leach with the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program.

In 2011, NOAA Fisheries had more than 1,000 observers and 79,570 sea days observed in 47 fisheries across the nation. Those were record numbers for the program. This type of data and more is included in the new National Observer Program Annual Report released by NOAA Fisheries. The report highlights program activities, funding, future goals, and the number of sea days observed and program accomplishments throughout the regions. 

Observers are NOAA-trained biologists onboard commercial fishing vessels. Their job is to tally the number of fish kept or discarded, document sightings of protected species, and collect data on fishing gear and effort. Established in 1972, the observer program continues to evolve today. In 2011, observer coverage in the Northeast and Northwest regions increased. 

The National Observer Program released a related report in 2011, the National Bycatch Report, which is NOAA Fisheries’ first national compilation of bycatch estimates for U.S. commercial fisheries.

Click the image to right to view the National Observer Program Annual Report. Visit the National Observer Program homepage to learn more about the program.